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President Joe Biden Implements Tighter Travel Rules To Fight Omicron Variant

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- It's here, but President Joe Biden says the Omicron variant is cause for concern, not panic.

"We're going to fight this variant with science and speed, not chaos and confusion," President Biden said.

He addressed the nation Thursday, emphasizing we're entering the winter months from a position of strength.

"Last Christmas, fewer than one percent of adults were fully vaccinated," Biden said. "This Christmas, the number will be 72 percent, including more than 86 percent of seniors."

And even with 20 million kids now vaccinated, medical experts warn we will see cases increase.

That's why the president announced Thursday that officials are expanding the vaccine booster campaign, requiring testing one day before any traveler enters the country, and extending the mask mandate on planes, trains and buses until mid-March.

Bus and T riders in Pittsburgh gave KDKA some feedback on the news.

"I think in order to be safe to protect the more vulnerable, we should keep them on," said Emma Alai.

"With all the different variants coming out over and over as we continue, it's probably for the better for when it comes to getting rid of it as a whole," said Grant Schiester.

Rider Kai Denson said he'll keep his mask, but he's tired.

"If they say I gotta wear it, I'll wear it. But sometimes it is hard. I just wish it was over with," said Denson.

The president wants Americans to know he does not plan for any new restrictions, mandates or lockdowns.

"We're on track for the fastest economic growth in four decades. We move forward in the face of COVID-19, and we'll move forward in the face of the Omicron variant as well," Biden said.

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